Neighbors Growing Together | May 16, 2022

Don't Waste Aiken to Hold Forum on Spent Fuel Storage at the Savannah River Site, Feb. 28 - Will You Consent to be Dumped On or Not?

By Thomas Clements | Feb 27, 2013
Photo by: Nuclear Regulatory Commission Most nuclear power plants have developed facilities to store spent fuel in "dry casks."  The highly radioactive waste should be promptly removed from cooling pools at reactor sites and place in dry casks. Plant Vogtle in Georgia is slated to have a dry cask facility in 2015.  On-site dry cask storage is the much preferred option in the medium-term for spent fuel storage as it reduces handling and transport risks.  "Consolidation" of spent fuel at site like the Savannah River Site (SRS) would maximize costs, increase worker exposure to radiation, result in greater risk of accidents in transport and pose the risk that the spent fuel would never be removed from the site.  Special interests view consolidation of spent fuel as a foot in the door for reprocessing of the spent fuel, a costly and dangerous process which results separation of weapons-usable plutonium and a host of difficult-to-manage waste streams which are discharged into the air and water. Obtaining public "consent" to being dumped on will be a major challenge for DOE and special interests which seek to profit from the misguided consolidation scheme.

UPDATE of March 1: Almost 100 people attended the public forum in Aiken, SC on February 28.  Response to the presentation by Mr. Alvarez was excellent and the question of what constitutes "consent" by the public in South Carolina to a spent fuel storage facility was a focus of the discussion.  It appeared that not a single DOE-SRS official attended, raising the question if the meeting was formally boycotted. Non-attendance was a negative move as DOE chose to miss a chance to interact with the public on the spent fuel storage issue and affirm that public views about "consent" will be listened to.  It's hoped that DOE will do much better next time and that they will learn to get away from the comfort of their own meetings and help stimulate dialogue. See March 1 article in the Augusta (Georgia) Chronicle about the report released by Mr. Alvarez

'Interim' nuclear fuel storage could bring more waste to SRS

Study says radioactivity would surge


UPDATE of February 28:  The State newspaper, Columbia, South Carolina -

"Report: SRS radiation could skyrocket if door opened to commercial waste"


A new group in Aiken – Don’t Waste Aiken – was recently formed, and has been growing dramatically, to oppose any plans by the Department of Energy for storage of high-level radioactive waste at the Savannah River Site (SRS).

SRS is located a short distance from Aiken, South Carolina and Augusta, Georgia.

See Don’t Waste Aiken on Facebook at:

Attend a public forum on February 28, at 5:30 p.m. at the Aiken municipal building about the possibility of the “consolidated storage” of highly radioactive commercial spent nuclear fuel at the Savannah River Site.

The public in Aiken and in South Carolina must answer the question: Will you “consent” to the Savannah River Site becoming the nation’s dump for highly radioactive spent fuel?  Plans are headed in this direction unless the public speaks up to stop them.  It's looking like solid support for not giving consent has developed.

The presentation at the forum is by Bob Alvarez, former adviser to Secretary of Energy Bill Richardson (under President Clinton) and author of numerous articles about spent fuel management

Mr. Alvarez, who is releasing a report on nuclear waste management at SRS, will discuss implications for spent fuel storage at SRS and how much material and how much radiation could be involved.  He will compare incoming shipments to waste already at the site and show that radiation quantities in spent fuel would dwarf what is already stored at SRS and in dire need of clean-up.

Thursday, February 28, 2013, 5:30-7:30 p.m.

City of Aiken Municipal Building, 214 Park Ave, downtown

The meeting is open and free to the public.

--- see full-page ad about the meeting in the Sunday, February 24 edition

of the Aiken Standard, page 13A --

This is an important public meeting regarding the effort to use Aiken and the Savannah River Site as the replacement for the failed Yucca Mountain nuclear repository.

Given the decision not to establish Yucca Mountain as a spent fuel dump, in January 2012 the Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future issued a report recommending “one of more” consolidated spent fuel storage facilities, but only if the “consent” was given by the public.  On January 11, 2013, the Department of Energy sent a strategy document on spent fuel storage to the Congress and it also recommended consolidated spent fuel storage.  DOE did not define the term “consent,” and some special interest groups are trying to set things up so that they define “consent” – the public in South Carolina and Georgia can’t let this happen.

Now, Congress has begun deliberations about nuclear waste legislation and it is already clear that the Savannah River Site and one or two other DOE sites are already targeted as “interim” storage sites for some or all of the nation's inventory of 70,000 tons of highly radioactive spent fuel.  Interim could mean hundreds of years and there may be no exit strategy to get the waste out of the state after it is brought here.  Once the dangerous waste is at the site, special interests which are out to profit from spent fuel management may want to reprocess it to remove plutonium, creating a host of hard-to-manage waste streams and radioactive discharge, many of which would be dumped on site or discharged into the air and waterways.

Companies such as AREVA and Energy Solutions have recently indicated interest in reprocessing of commercial spent fuel.  You can bet they won’t pursue this unless the tax payer is forced to foot the bill.

--- See DOE’s January 11 report entitled “Strategy for the Management and Disposal of Used Nuclear Fuel and High-Level Radioactive Waste” at: ---

Is the Aiken/Augusta community comfortable with becoming the de facto nuclear waste dump for commercial spent fuel?  Will you give “consent” to be the nation’s spent fuel dump?

Please come to this public discussion about this idea, on Thursday, February 28, with nationally know nuclear waste expert Bob Alvarez.

Don't Waste Aiken!


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